Cookies Holidays

pan-banging chocolate chip cookies

pan banging chocolate chip cookies on wire cooling rack

The original Pan-Banging Chocolate Chip Cookie, as featured in the NYTimes .
This recipe first appeared in my Vanilla Bean Baking Book, and was the inspiration for the ENTIRE CHAPTER of pan-banging cookie recipes in my 100 Cookies cookbook!

Originally I thought to include a different chocolate chip cookie recipe in this book. It was my go-to cookie, one I had made for years at Bordertown Coffee. I began working on a thin and crispy version, and along the way it evolved into this recipe.

The cookie falls somewhere in the middle of gooey and crispy, with edges that shatter in your mouth and a center that is soft and full of chocolate. My family loved it so much that my original recipe hasn’t seen the light of day since. Meet our new house cookie.

TROUBLESHOOTING

1. What are pan-banging cookies?

Bakers tapping their cookie pans in the oven isn’t new, of course, but the pan-banging technique I use here is unique in that the pan is tapped in the oven every few minutes, creating ripples on the edge of the cookie. This creates two textures in the cookie: a crisp outer edge, and a soft, gooey center.

2. Why won’t my cookies ripple/wrinkle? I’ve found that flour can often be the culprit, and it seems that high-protein flour won’t allow for as much spreading and wrinkling. I use Gold Medal Unbleached All-Purpose Flour in my cookies, and find that works best.

3. Why are my cookie bottoms greasy? I prefer to think of the cookies as “exceptionally buttery”. There is extra butter in these cookies, which helps them spread, and crisp on the bottom. I remove my cookies from the pan when they are cool enough to handle, and let them continue cooling on a wire rack, which helps them stay crispy.

4. Can I use less sugar? The granulated sugar helps with spreading and also helps with crisping. If you decrease the sugar, you won’t have the same type of cookie. If you do want to play around with decreasing amounts, start with 2 or 3 tablespoons, and continue to decrease each time you make them until you find your sweet spot (pun intended).

5. Can I switch out some of the granulated sugar for brown sugar? You can, but your cookie won’t be as crispy – it will end up with a chewy texture.

Pan-banging Chocolate Chip Cookies

6. Why should I use aluminum foil? I find that aluminum foil helps the cookies spread a bit more and creates a slightly crisper bottom. But parchment paper will work well, too.

7. Can I refrigerate pan-banging cookie dough?

Cookie dough can be refrigerated overnight before using. Shape the dough into balls and cover with plastic wrap before chilling, and then bring it to room temperature before baking (when the cookies are chilled solid, they won’t ripple as well). Cookies that spend a night in the fridge will also have a more developed flavor, but also have a bumpier finish.

8. Can I use European butter? Yes! But note that using European butter will make the bottom of these cookies even more buttery.

9. Can I add more ingredients to the dough (nuts, other chips, m&ms, etc)? Yes, but note a few things: too many add-ins (chocolate, toffee, nuts, etc.) will prevent the dough from spreading as it should.

10. Can I use chocolate chips instead of chopped chocolate? Yes, but note that chopped chocolate spreads much better than chocolate chips.

11. Can I use alternative flours (i.e. almond, oat, buckwheat, etc)? You can’t swap out all equal parts all-purpose flour for an alternative flour. If you would like to substitute some alternative flour for the all-purpose, start with 1/4 cup (about 50 grams) and slowly increase each time you make it, until you find your perfect ratio.

12. Can I make these gluten-free or vegan? Yes, my friend Amanda has used my recipe to create Gluten-Free Pan-Banging Chocolate Chip Cookies! I haven’t played around with a vegan recipe, but I have seen many people on Instagram successfully do so (sorry, I know that isn’t helpful). If you do make it successfully either way, comment below on what worked for you!

13. What ingredients are best for making pan-banging cookies?

I use Land O’Lakes unsalted butter and Gold Medal Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, almost exclusively. I use a variety of grocery store brand granulated sugar, brown sugar, large eggs, and pure vanilla extract. For chocolate I use a mix of brands: Ghiradelli Semi-Sweet baking bars and Trader Joe’s bittersweet baking bars are great grocery store brands. Valrhona feves (I like Caraibe) and Guittard baking wafers are wonderful higher-end options. I use a mix of all of them.

pan-banging chocolate chip cookies on parchment and wire rack

14. Why are my cookies burning on the bottom? Make sure your batter is completely combined – doing a final few stirs with a spatula will help make sure everything is evenly combined and mixed. Having a medium-weight baking sheet makes for even baking (I use these from Nordic Ware). Sometimes your oven temperature can be the culprit – using an oven thermometer each time you bake will help you make sure it is correct.

15. How do I get my chocolate to pool on top? Place a piece of chopped chocolate directly on top of each cookie dough ball before going into the oven (Vahlrona feves work well for this) will make a nice pool as they bake.

16. What kind of baking sheet should I use? I use a medium-weight half sheet pan (12 by 16 in [ 30.5 cm by 40.5 cm]). I find heavier-insulated baking sheets don’t ripple as well.

17. What if I can’t fit my baking sheet in my freezer? It’s okay! You can put the dough balls on a small plate and freeze them, then transfer them to the baking sheet when you are ready to bake.

18. Will this technique work with other cookie recipes? Not necessarily, and not in the same way. Cookies that are made to be thick and gooey won’t ripple when tapped in the oven, although doing so may help to set the edges.

19. Do I have to bang the pan outside the oven? No, you don’t! As stated in the recipe, I lift the side of the baking sheet up about 4 in [10 cm] and gently let it drop down against the oven rack, so the edges of the cookies set and the inside falls back down.

20. Do you have more pan-banging cookie recipes in your 100 Cookies cookbook? Yes, I have a whole chapter dedicated them! Purchase my book,  100 Cookies. (affiliate link)

More Pan-Banging Cookie Recipes:

Pan-banging Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pan-Banging Chocolate Chip Cookies

Servings: 10 large cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 38 minutes
The original and famous Pan-Banging Chocolate Chip Cookies, created by Sarah Kieffer. The easy trick of banging the pan a few times during baking, causing the cookies to "fall," produces rippled edges that shatter in your mouth and a center that is soft and full of chocolate.
Sarah Kieffer
4.75 from 81 votes
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 3 baking sheets with aluminum foil, dull side up.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium until creamy. Add the granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and water and mix on low to combine. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until combined. Add the chocolate and mix on low into the batter.
  • Form the dough into 3½-ounce (100g) balls (a heaping 1/3 cup each). Place 4 balls an equal distance apart on a prepared pan and transfer to the freezer for 15 minutes before baking. After you put the first baking sheet in the oven, put the second one in the freezer.
  • Place the chilled baking sheet in the oven and bake 10 minutes, until the cookies are puffed slightly in the center. Lift the side of the baking sheet up about 4 inches and gently let it drop down against the oven rack, so the edges of the cookies set and the inside falls back down (this will feel wrong, but trust me). After the cookies puff up again in 2 minutes, repeat lifting and dropping the pan. Repeat a few more times to create ridges around the edge of the cookie. Bake 16 to 18 minutes total, until the cookies have spread out and the edges are golden brown but the centers are much lighter and not fully cooked.
  • Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack; let cool completely before removing the cookies from the pan.

Notes

These cookies are rather large, but to get the edges to spread out and crinkle, they need to be on the big side. If you want to make the cookies smaller, you won’t get as many ridges on the outer layer, and your center won’t be quite as gooey. They will still be delicious, but not quite what I intended for you.
If you skip freezing the cookies, they will spread too much on the pan and will not form the crinkly outer layer.
Chocolate chips are not a good substitution for the chopped chocolate; the cookies will not turn out the same with chips. If you do still want to use chocolate chips, you will need to use 8 ounces chips and make the cookies 2½ ounces big.
Using the dull side of aluminum foil to bake these cookies is a little trick I learned after hearing Alice Medrich speak. The foil helps make for an extra-crisp, golden brown bottom. Parchment paper can also be used with good results.
The cookies are delicious warm, but I’ve found I love them a couple of days later just as much. I usually store them in the fridge and sneak pieces of them cold.
Reprinted by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Sarah Kieffer, 2016.
  • Reply
    Shazeen Tejani
    Friday, April 29, 2022 at 9:55 pm

    5 stars
    I don’t know what to say about these cookies. I almost hate them a little…. But only because I’ve made SO many batches due to their insane popularity among my family and friends. Don’t get me wrong.. one batch is easy peasy. But when people are so obsessed with them and you have to make 3 batches at time, it truly is a labour of love. But I promise there isn’t a recipe out there more worth it than this one. I’ve thrown out every other chocolate chunk cookie recipe I’ve ever used and wholly commit to only making these ones going forward. Pro tip for anyone who has made this a trillion times and needs to shake it up: replace the chocolate chunks with chunks of Skor candy bar. It’s a bit sweeter, but when the toffee cools and hardens.. it’s a dream come true.

    Thank you so so much for this AMAZING recipe!

  • Reply
    Linda
    Saturday, April 9, 2022 at 9:11 pm

    5 stars
    Followed recipe to a T and these came out delicious. Used King Arthur flour ave Kerrygold butter. Had to slam a little harder than a nice drop, but it worked perfectly!

  • Reply
    Sheryl
    Wednesday, March 16, 2022 at 7:15 pm

    @Sarah
    Question: I use King Arthur Flour which weighs 240g for two cups. Was this recipe tested by weight or volume? I’m just not sure if I should use the number of grams stated in the recipe or the two cups (240g). Thank you!

    • Reply
      Sarah Kieffer
      Thursday, March 17, 2022 at 9:49 am

      hello! use the gram measurement in the recipe, not what KA flour suggests. i measure differently than their site, and this recipe was tested by weight.

      • Reply
        Sheryl
        Friday, March 18, 2022 at 8:36 pm

        Thank you!!

  • Reply
    lola
    Tuesday, February 15, 2022 at 2:56 pm

    Refrain from asking about types of foil or can I use/ add this or that? Simply read the recipe and either make them as written or move on and make your own decisions.

  • Reply
    Sue
    Saturday, February 12, 2022 at 12:19 pm

    4 stars
    The cookies taste fantastic and it’s a fun process too! Mine were way to big so next time I will not do a heaping 1/3 cup size because they spread too much and didn’t keep the round shape. They still tasted delicious!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Felix
    Saturday, February 5, 2022 at 4:44 pm

    5 stars
    Pan banging brings me joy! I must have been one of those toddlers who loves to take out all the pots in the cupboard and make some fun noises. Pleasing to my ears, not so much for others yet they don’t complain while eating these cookies, worth the noise I am sure. I am not the biggest chocolate chip cookie fan. I prefer the shortbread variety, these have changed me, thats all I can say. I followed recipe with the exception of type of flour and chocolate. I have King Arthur all purpose on hand for most of my baking. I used a combination of Ghirardelli (4 oz) semisweet bar and Hu Simple Dark (70%) chocolate bar since that was what was in my pantry. Worked great, will experiment with some finer chocolate next time and there will be many more next times to come!

  • Reply
    Julia Harrison
    Thursday, February 3, 2022 at 9:05 am

    5 stars
    Life changing best Chocolate chip cookies in the history of the world. I am not exaggerating. And it’s fun!

  • Reply
    Monica
    Monday, January 17, 2022 at 6:52 pm

    4 stars
    They came out beautiful and the texture is great! Soft in the middle and crispy on the edge, and delicious pools of melted chocolate chunks. The flavor is good, though I found that I miss the the brown sugar flavor that I love in many other chocolate chip cookies, the sweetness had less complexity in these. Can’t wait to try other recipes!

  • Reply
    Holly
    Thursday, December 30, 2021 at 6:07 pm

    5 stars
    My life has been changed.

  • Reply
    Chris
    Sunday, December 26, 2021 at 5:52 am

    5 stars
    Really enjoyed the cookies, but mine were done a lot faster, do you use convection with your oven when baking cookies or not ?

    • Reply
      Sarah Kieffer
      Sunday, December 26, 2021 at 12:33 pm

      Hi! I use a regular oven, not convection. It sounds like your oven runs hot. I would purchase and inexpensive oven thermometer and see what it reads at.

  • Reply
    Culinary Therapy Chic
    Sunday, December 19, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    Can I use brown butter with this recipe?

  • Reply
    tessa
    Sunday, December 19, 2021 at 7:54 am

    5 stars
    These are the only cookies my family requests … thanks for the awesome recipe. We add 1 cup mixed raw walnuts and pecans to a good result 🙂

  • Reply
    Kellyhenry
    Wednesday, December 15, 2021 at 4:34 am

    5 stars
    I love to eat cookies. Everyone I know loves to eat cookies. But I love cookies even more when they’re homemade. But, there is no need to settle for those dry, soggy, oh-so-bland pre-packaged cookies anymore!

  • Reply
    Kristen Pringle
    Sunday, December 12, 2021 at 1:49 am

    5 stars
    These cookies are banging! (Sorry couldn’t help it!) in all seriousness these are some of the best chocolate chip cookies. They came out perfectly and were delish. I did use 1 cup white sugar and 3/4 c brown sugar after reading some comments that cookies were very sweet. Interesting to note, i baked two batches exactly as directed then left the final batch in the freezer, baked them a few hours later and those cookies flattened out and didn’t have the ridges on the edge.

  • Reply
    Katherine
    Friday, December 3, 2021 at 7:23 pm

    5 stars
    Easily my go to cookie that wows everyone I bake them for. I make a batch and always have some in my freezer to whip up!

  • Reply
    Mariana
    Monday, November 22, 2021 at 11:16 pm

    4 stars
    I bought the book 100 cookies! And I just made the pan banging rocky road cookies, which I loved! I was wondering how to double de the recipe, my biggest question is if I should double the butter, since it would be almost 5 butter sticks!

    Regards!

  • Reply
    Jackie K.
    Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 1:31 pm

    5 stars
    Made these today with gluten free flour (King Arthor Measure for Measure) and for 1/2 of the sugar I used monkfruit sugar, and used no-sugar chocolate (for personal dietary needs). They were fabulous! Great crinkling and tasty 🙂 Thank you!

  • Reply
    La'Shonda
    Tuesday, October 12, 2021 at 3:21 pm

    Can I use a refular pan to bake them as my cookie sheet is to large to fit in my freezer for that step. 10/12/21

    • Reply
      Shazeen Tejani
      Friday, April 29, 2022 at 9:57 pm

      5 stars
      I just roll up the balls and put them in a small loaf pan! Then just take them out and place them on the cookie sheet before baking

  • Reply
    Rose T
    Wednesday, September 29, 2021 at 8:31 pm

    4 stars
    Made this cookie today,… looks great, a little too crispy when it’s warm. I wonder if it’s super crunchy when it’s cooled. I used Toll House Dark morsels. Any suggestions on how I can soften so it’s chewy slightly?

  • Reply
    Moni
    Tuesday, September 14, 2021 at 8:54 am

    5 stars
    I have made these cookies now I don’t know how many times, and every time they’re just SO delicious! If friends and family know I’m coming with some baked goodies, they always request these. Thanks for sharing this recipe and writing the recipe so well – they turn out every time.

  • Reply
    Suzy
    Sunday, September 12, 2021 at 9:52 pm

    I followed the recipe exactly and not one of mine came out even close to round. I am an experienced baker. Ideas?

    • Reply
      Liz
      Thursday, September 16, 2021 at 7:01 am

      Swirl them inside a larger ring once out of the oven.
      What does baking experience have to do with round cookies? Use a disher and they will be round.

  • Reply
    MM
    Thursday, September 9, 2021 at 7:03 pm

    can these be completely frozen, then baked another day?

  • Reply
    Susan Whitfield
    Tuesday, August 31, 2021 at 11:40 am

    Look awesome! Can’t wait to try!!

    • Reply
      Susan Whitfield
      Tuesday, August 31, 2021 at 11:41 am

      Can they be made smaller

  • Reply
    Susan Schulte
    Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 3:53 pm

    5 stars
    I’m tempted to sell these lol! Delicious!!! Thanks for the recipe

  • Reply
    Christina
    Monday, August 9, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    Can you add oatmeal to this recipe?

  • Reply
    Cookie monster
    Friday, July 23, 2021 at 1:48 pm

    3 stars
    There is so much butter in the recipe, you have to wash your hands after holding a cookie! Otherwise very tasty

  • Reply
    sandra garcia
    Monday, July 5, 2021 at 10:09 pm

    5 stars
    Delicious! I add a sprinkle of maldon salt right out of the oven for that extra touch.

  • Reply
    Sydney McCaskey
    Friday, June 25, 2021 at 5:55 pm

    1 star
    gross! aluminum foil made it taste/ bake weird. horrible cookie it was gross to me.

    • Reply
      Kelly
      Monday, August 23, 2021 at 10:35 pm

      Question: Did you use Reynold’s Wrap? Or a different brand? Serious question.

      • Reply
        Chanel
        Thursday, September 23, 2021 at 12:27 pm

        5 stars
        She’s crazy, these are the best. I alter it slightly but even so these cookies are always a hit.

  • Reply
    Eliana
    Friday, June 4, 2021 at 9:33 am

    5 stars
    Truly a crowd-pleasing cookie…crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside is a winning combo for any cookie lover! Incredible when served with vanilla ice cream too:) Thank you for such a great recipe, Sarah!

  • Reply
    Alanna
    Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    5 stars
    very good 🙂 i love them

  • Reply
    Lori
    Saturday, May 8, 2021 at 12:27 pm

    5 stars
    These are truly the best cookies! The perfect balance of crispness, chocolate and the sprinkle of salt on top. Everyone’s favorite and fun to make.

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